Hurry Up and Wait


Why are we in such a hurry?  Would the world really end if we got where we are going 10 minutes later?  If it would, couldn’t we just leave 10 minutes sooner?  I had occasion to travel by plane and watch people – people in a great hurry.  They arrive at the airport and are immediately greeted by a line to check in luggage.

Because people are so impatient, there is also a kiosk to check in easier and, of course, faster.  People really in hurry have already printed their boarding pass so they can use express check in. They don’t want to stop at the ticket counter and stand in one of those time gobbling lines.

After finally getting rid of the luggage, it’s off to the concourse to find the departing gate.  Some people are so impatient, they don’t even check baggage at all, but drag it behind them on wheels.  “Saves time,” they say.  “Don’t have to wait to get your baggage when you get off.” Also, don’t have to worry about the airlines losing it, a really, big, super-duper time consumer.

So there they go, dragging suitcases on wheels, up ramps, down ramps, over moving sidewalks, up escalators, and down escalators, really saving a great deal of time.  If we could collect all the time saved at airports, we could probably extend the end of the world by billions of years.

Next comes that horrible time consuming obstacle, the scanner or metal detector.  Valuable seconds are lost emptying pockets, removing shoes, and poking purses and luggage through the conveyor belt.  If spare change or a belt buckle sets off an alarm, forget it! The hurried passenger becomes a hostage of the airport security guards for five or more minutes, at least, before they can be fleeced enough to satisfy the security guards that no madman with a firearm is boarding, intent on hijacking the plane.

Passing inspection, passengers are free to proceed, and proceed, and proceed.  Seems like they will never get there.  Why do airports always make the gates for impatient people the last gate at the end of the concourse?  It is almost as if they know who is impatient and planed it as a cruel joke.

At last, the correct gate is found, and another wait begins.  People fidget, they read, they use cell phones, laptop computers or watch TV, if there is one.  Why doesn’t the plane get here?  Don’t airlines know people are in a hurry?  Why do they think people fly?

At last the attendants come out.  Before they can announce the flight, the suitcase people, who were in too big a hurry to check in at the ticket counter, begin to line up.  After all, people in a hurry need to be first.

Finally, boarding begins and chaos evokes.  Never mind that seats are assigned.  People cannot wait; they stand by eagerly waiting for their row to be called so they can rush on the plane.  Some don’t wait, but cut ahead of others before their row is even called.  On the plane the early boarders who, of course, have wheeled luggage and are trying to put it in overhead compartments, block all the aisles.

The other people, who are also in a hurry, are very annoyed by not being able to get to their own seat and put their own wheeled luggage overhead.  Should the flight be delayed in taking off for a few minutes, people begin to fidget, murmur, and look at watches, sure they will never make their connection on time.

At the end of the flight, people are out of their seat belts and in the aisles before the plane can stop taxing. Bags are jerked from overhead compartments and impatience evokes until the door is finally opened and the hurry-up people run from the plane pulling their wheels behind them.

Yes, it really is too bad there is no way to collect up all the time saved at airports.  We could dole it out to the impatient passengers along with airline tickets and give them all sorts of time to board.  Guess it wouldn’t work, though.  They would want to save it in a plan for frequent fliers and get preferred seating – ahead of everyone else, naturally.

©1999 S Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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2 Responses to Hurry Up and Wait

  1. Sheila Moss says:

    All I can figure out is they all have connecting flights, every blame one of them.


  2. That pretty much sums up air travel. Excuse me I have something to do and I might be late…..


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